Exploring social themes through literature with lower primary ESL Learners
Jamie Gibbings, Friday 11.30-12.00

Young Learner courses at British Council Singapore aim to improve overall and specific language competencies, but also to introduce wider social and cultural themes. At Lower Primary level (age 7-10) story and picture books can be powerful tools for raising awareness, framing issues and launching discussions.

This presentation is based around texts and materials currently used as part of British Council Singapore's Creative English for Primary programme.

Issues to be discussed will include:

1) The role of literature in the Lower Primary ESL classroom

2) Skills and language practice within social themes

3) Practical considerations for mixed ability classes

Themes and stories discussed as examples will include:

Disability Awareness: Susan Laughs

Gender Equality: Bill's New Frock, The Paper Bag Princess

Age Equality: The Trouble with Gran, Leaves for Mr Walter

Racial and Cultural Tolerance: Giraffes Can't Dance, Are You a Butterfly?

Environmental Awareness: The Giving Tree, Dear Greenpeace, Oi! Get Off Our Train

Mapping the World: A Pet for Mrs Arbuckle

Before joining the British Council in 2004 I worked with primary school children in the UK, India and Japan. My current post as Senior Teacher Young Learners includes responsibility for a large ESL primary school-aged student body in Singapore. Children's literature is one of my main areas of professional interest.